Beyond the little blue pill: Scientists develop compound that may treat priapism

September 30, 2013, Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology

It's not the little blue pill famous for helping men get big results, but for those who need it, the outcome might be even more significant. A new research report published online in The FASEB Journal, offers hope to men who experience priapism. This condition, which is often seen in men with sickle cell disease, causes erections lasting so long that they cause permanent damage to the penis. Specifically, a compound, called "C6'" offered mice—with and without sickle cell disease—relief by normalizing nitric oxide levels in penile blood. In addition to helping men with priapism, this action of this compound also provides insight for future research related to vascular and circulatory disorders such as hypertension.

"This study has implications for quality of life by suggesting the possible role of a drug therapy for controlled, physiologic release of nitric oxide that may treat conditions of altered nitric oxide signaling or function," said Gwen Lagoda, M.S., a researcher involved in the work from the Department of Urology at Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, in Baltimore, Maryland. "Its application may extend beyond erection disorders and include other health conditions involving abnormal circulation and blood flow."

Scientists analyzed two groups of experimental . The first group had both endothelial and neuronal nitric oxide synthase knocked out. The second group of mice had . In both groups of mice, signaling was known to be abnormal and resulted in abnormal erections. When these mice were given C6' treatment, their molecular abnormalities were reduced and erectile functioning returned to levels similar to normal mice.

"Thanks to massive advertising, when people think of 'E.D.,' they often think of an inability to achieve or maintain an erection," said Gerald Weissmann, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of The FASEB Journal. "What they don't realize is that there can be other problems as well. Priapism is a dangerous and painful form of erectile dysfunction that is overlooked. Hopefully this compound will be just as effective in people as it was in mice."

Explore further: Researchers uncover biochemical events needed to maintain erection

More information: Gwen Lagoda, Sena F. Sezen, K. Joseph Hurt, Marcelo R. Cabrini, Dillip K. Mohanty, and Arthur L. Burnett. Sustained nitric oxide (NO)-releasing compound reverses dysregulated NO signal transduction in priapism. FASEB J, DOI: 10.1096/fj.13-228817

Related Stories

Researchers uncover biochemical events needed to maintain erection

September 26, 2012
For two decades, scientists have known the biochemical factors that trigger penile erection, but not what's needed to maintain one. Now an article by Johns Hopkins researchers, scheduled to be published this week by the Proceedings ...

Sudden decline in testosterone may cause Parkinson's disease symptoms in men

July 27, 2013
The results of a new study by neurological researchers at Rush University Medical Center show that a sudden decrease of testosterone, the male sex hormone, may cause Parkinson's like symptoms in male mice. The findings were ...

Arginine therapy shows promise for sickle cell pain

September 16, 2013
Arginine therapy may be a safe and inexpensive treatment for acute pain episodes in patients with sickle cell disease, according to results of a recent clinical study. The study was the first randomized placebo-controlled ...

Researchers looking inside vessels to understand blood's ebb and flow

September 4, 2013
Researchers have known for some time that the blood vessels that transport blood to and from tissues and organs in the body are more than just bodily pipelines. Arterioles and capillaries, the small vessels, actually play ...

Recommended for you

Bioengineered soft microfibers improve T-cell production

January 18, 2018
T cells play a key role in the body's immune response against pathogens. As a new class of therapeutic approaches, T cells are being harnessed to fight cancer, promising more precise, longer-lasting mitigation than traditional, ...

Weight flux alters molecular profile, study finds

January 17, 2018
The human body undergoes dramatic changes during even short periods of weight gain and loss, according to a study led by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine.

Secrets of longevity protein revealed in new study

January 17, 2018
Named after the Greek goddess who spun the thread of life, Klotho proteins play an important role in the regulation of longevity and metabolism. In a recent Yale-led study, researchers revealed the three-dimensional structure ...

The HLF gene protects blood stem cells by maintaining them in a resting state

January 17, 2018
The HLF gene is necessary for maintaining blood stem cells in a resting state, which is crucial for ensuring normal blood production. This has been shown by a new research study from Lund University in Sweden published in ...

Magnetically applied MicroRNAs could one day help relieve constipation

January 17, 2018
Constipation is an underestimated and debilitating medical issue related to the opioid epidemic. As a growing concern, researchers look to new tools to help patients with this side effect of opioid use and aging.

Researchers devise decoy molecule to block pain where it starts

January 16, 2018
For anyone who has accidentally injured themselves, Dr. Zachary Campbell not only sympathizes, he's developing new ways to blunt pain.

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Bookbinder
not rated yet Sep 30, 2013
Really. You couldn't write this without the adolescent snark?

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.